Schefflera are beautiful plants characterized by lush, green, and robust leaves. However, some environmental factors and pests can cause them to start looking droopy and eventually fall off. Understanding the causes behind this behavior can help you salvage your plant in time!
So, why is a Schefflera droopy or losing leaves? Notice that older leaves will naturally drop at the end of their life cycle. However, if new leaves are falling, this can derive from:
- Dry soil and underwatering
- Exposure to cold temperatures
- Environmental, drought, and repotting stress
- Pests and infestations
Salvaging your plant from whatever is causing droopy leaves is straightforward in most scenarios. Read on to learn how to approach the issue.
Some Leaf Drop Is Natural!
First of all, it is essential to understand that older leaves will naturally fall off the plant at the end of their life cycle. These leaves populate the bottom of the plant, and they are closer to the soil. You can notice them aging as they slowly become yellow and then turn into a brown color.
Lastly, the plant itself will cause the drop of these leaves, which usually happens during the growth season. In spring or summer, the plant needs to focus its energy on producing new leaves and stems. Therefore, dropping the older leaves is a growth mechanism that allows the plant to preserve its strength.
However, you should start to be concerned when the younger leaves, or even baby leaves, begin to suffer from discoloration and fall off the plant. These conditions can derive from many factors, most of which related to the plant’s environment.
Overwatering is the most popular culprit for leaves that are falling off prematurely. However, this condition – if not treated promptly – can cause subsequent damage to the plant. Overwatering often happens as the season changes. Indeed, the watering requirements of the plant might change, yet inexpert cultivators might feed increased water amounts.
In turn, this can cause the soil to remain soggy throughout the days and unable to dry between one watering and the next one. When the Schefflera stays in “wet feet” for prolonged periods, the roots start to become weaker, which makes them an easy target for pathogens and fungi.
Copyright protected content owner: ReadyToDIY.com and was initially posted on May 18, 2020.
If the root ball becomes affected, the rot will spread through the stem and leaves of the plant, causing its decay and death. Root and stem rot are highly dangerous conditions that originate within the soil, and they are often discovered too late for the plant to be salvaged. If the leaves start to fall due to overwatering, check whether the root system shows signs of root rot.
If your plant is affected by root rot, you will need to act promptly to save it. The first step is removing the plant from the current pot and removing the affected soil from the roots. Then, gently run the roots under running water until most of the ground leaves the root ball.
Afterward, cut any affected root still attached to the system and replant the Schefflera into fresh soil. In some cases, it will be enough to allow the old ground to dry to see your plant picking up vigor again.
The opposite problem of overwatering is underwatering. This issue is likely to happen during the transition period between spring and summer when the temperatures are rising. Indeed, to compensate for the more intense sun rays and higher temperatures, your plant will need extra water and nutrients added to the soil.
Failing to do so can cause a nutrient deficiency in the plant, which will start to drop leaves as it cannot get enough compounds from the ground to sustain their growth.
Copyright article owner is ReadyToDiy.com for this article. This post was first published on May 18, 2020.
Revisiting the current water regimen for your plant is an ideal solution to see it flourishing again. Add water at different intervals and different amounts to find out what is the right combination for your plants. Of course, Schefflera prefers dry soil, high humidity levels, and regular watering. However, the amount of water you deliver should reflect the local temperature and zone.
Exposure to Cold Temperatures
As a tropical plant, Schefflera prefers bright, indirect sunlight, and temperatures stable between 65℉ and 90℉ (18℃ and 32℃). Indeed, anything below 35℉ (1.5℃) and above 105℉ (40℃) can cause the plant to suffer from cold or heat damage. If this happens, you can notice the leaves to start drooping and eventually fall off the stems.
Temperature, as well as drought and air currents, can cause stress in the plant, which can make it more challenging to recover it. We will have a look at this in more detail in the sections below.
If your plant shows drooping and falling leaves, check whether its spot in the flat becomes subjected to air currents and overnight drops in temperatures. You might not have realized that a nearby window or door could let in cold air during the day.
In this case, move your plant into a more suitable spot in the house. During the winter season, ensure the plant is far away from windows and doors to keep it as warm as possible.
The environment surrounding your plant influences its health and wellbeing. If you have noticed your Schefflera leaves falling, this could derive from one or more of the factors listed above. However, you should also consider that a combination of several factors acting at the same time can be highly detrimental to your plant.
Indeed, drought stress, as well as stress-related to repotting and transplanting, are among the most common – and often underestimated – causes of drooping leaves.
In turn, this uncomfortable situation causes the plant to stop harvesting the necessary nutrients from the soil. As this happens, the plant won’t have enough energy to sustain the growth of the leaves, which will start falling.
The most natural solution, in this case, is to bring your plant back to its original spot in the house, the one it was thriving in beforehand. Moreover, if you have already noticed leaves falling, avoid adding any additional pressure to the plant’s system.
Effectively, leaving the plant undisturbed for a few days can do the trick. Therefore, avoid pruning, repotting, moving, and trimming the plant until its health is fully restored.
Overfertilization can happen in plants that don’t need much fertilizer to survive, like Schefflera. Indeed, this plant only needs limited amounts of fertilizer once every three months or so.
However, an excessive amount of fertilizer can cause symptoms such as:
- Wilting leaves
- Burned ends
- Yellowing foliage
- Fertilizer residues on the soil’s surface
To save a Schefflera from overfertilization, start by removing any residues formed by the fertilizer on the soil. Then, with care, flush enough freshwater through the ground to wash the roots from the fertilizer in excess.
Lastly, allow the soil to dry thoroughly before watering the plant again. Ideally, for this process, you should ensure that the plant’s container boasts drainage holes to avoid the risk of overwatering the plant.
Rarely, the leaves of a Schefflera will start to become droopy and then fall off due to pests such as mealybugs. However, more commonly, this condition relates to some improper environmental factors that do not allow the plant to focus on its growth or absorb enough nutrients from the potting mix.
ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 18, 2020.
To resolve these issues, move the plant in more suitable spots in your home, ensuring that the plants receive enough light, water, shelter from the elements, and humidity.